Alan Roby was born at Billinge, near Wigan, in 1942. On leaving school at 15, he began a five year apprenticeship as a compositor in the traditional letterpress printing industry, where daily working with words led him to become a bibliophile. It was during the 1970s that he discovered the captivating writings of Miss Nelly Weeton in Miss Weeton’s Journal of a Governess (David and Charles, 1969, in two volumes).
In the late 1990s, Alan contributed a series of articles about Miss Weeton to Wigan Council’s heritage magazine, Past Forward. During 2012, he was asked by the Council’s Archivist, if he would write an up-to-date book in a single volume that would include information about the end of Miss Weeton’s life which had been unknown until 1994.
Miss Nelly Weeton lived during the reigns of four British monarchs, from George III to Victoria. It was a time of deep disagreement concerning Church doctrine, which coincided with Alan’s concurrent interest in 18th and 19th century Protestant dissent. This book represents the culmination of a 40-year preoccupation with a remarkable woman, who lived ahead of her time.